The almost month-long break during the Confederations Cup has by some, with yours truly included, been regarded as Palmeiras’ golden opportunity to catch up. For starters, coach Kleina will be getting important players back from the Medical Department, not least Valdivia, who seems determined enough: while the squad has been enjoying a five-day break, the Chilean spent his morning at the training grounds, doing physical exercise, with the aim of returning in full splendour.
2-0 against América/RN in the last game before the break propelled Palmeiras to a rather comfortable third position in the tables, giving Kleina and squad some peace of mind, also allowing for a good working environment.
Even more important are the directors’ efforts in closing sponsorship deals. There are however no news on this front, although Palmeiras are allegedly negotiating with six different companies. We’re all anxiously waiting.
In order for Palmeiras to really take off in the second division and enter the Brazil Cup as one of the favourites, a few good new players need to be announced. There has been progress. Recently contracted forward Ananias, mentioned in previous post, came on against América/RN toward the end and showed potential, being directly involved in the second goal.
Expectations are even higher on William Mendieta, announced last week by the directors. The midfielder, who defended Libertad/PAR in this year’s edition of the Libertadores Cup, has signed a four-year contract, Palmeiras being the sole holder of the player’s economic rights. The 24-year-old from Asunción seems excited with the opportunity to play for Palmeiras, having several times mentioned fellow countryman Arce’s success – easily the best-known Paraguayan out of the nine to have worn the Palmeiras jersey.
Another Libertad player is allegedly very close to signing with Palmeiras: defensive midfielder Sebastián Eguren. The 32-year-old has the same agent as Mendieta and the agent the other day claimed the deal was “80 per cent sealed”. Eguren, currently in Brazil serving the Uruguayan national squad in the Confederations Cup, has quite a lot of Nordic experience, having played both in Norway (Rosenborg) and Sweden (Hammarby and AIK) in addition to Spanish clubs Villarreal and Real Sporting. If the deal goes through, it should a priori be considered a good one.
On a smaller note, we also have the arrival of Thiago Martins, a young centre-back brought up in the Mogi Mirim youth academy. Under observation by Palmeiras scouts for some time, the 18-year-old originating from the state of Minas Gerais has signed a three-year contract and is expected to train with the squad and gain experience before making his debut, which, depending on his development, might happen only in 2014.
Summing up: with several important players back from the MD and a few new names in the squad, expect a rather different Palmeiras in July. If everything goes according to plan, the club will have performed o pulo do gato, “the leap of the cat”.
Scoppia che la vittoria è nostra!
And not only on the pitch but in particular on the streets of São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Brasilia, Porto Alegre, Belo Horizonte, Fortaleza, Salvador, Curitiba… The “facebook generation” of Brazil is finally awake, claiming for a better country. A country with “FIFA standards” also in regard to education, health care, public transport, transparency, safety… The list is extensive.